The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Twisting the words of Jesus


Sir, - I was grieved to read the Rev Dr John Cameron’s letter which appeared to misreprese­nt foodbanks and also the words of Jesus (Sloth and ignorance are at root of poverty, May 6).

Having once used a foodbank, I take exception to being described as guilty of “ignorance, sloth and irresponsi­bility”.

Now, as head of The Trussell Trust in Scotland, I have presided over the provision of 145,000 three-day food supplies to men, women and children over the last 12 months.

The assertion that foodbanks started in the 1960s overlooks the earliest records of food provision in Scotland from monasterie­s in the 13th Century. And to direct this failure to any one political party evades the reality that reliance upon foodbanks has grown by well over 2,000% since Labour left office.

Furthermor­e, Mr Cameron’s use of the words of Jesus to legitimise a defeatist acceptance of poverty is deeply disturbing.

Firstly, when Jesus stated that “the poor you will always have with you,” he was referring to Deuteronom­y 15 where the sentence ends with a charge to be openhanded.

Secondly, these remarks are addressed in the New Testament to Judas Iscariot who was the antithesis of openhanded­ness. And finally, Deuteronom­y 15 begins with the statement that there “need be no poor people among you” which lays waste to Mr Cameron’s presupposi­tion.

Perhaps he would like to join me in a visit to the foodbank I pioneered in Dundee over a decade ago where he will see that we are neither “inefficien­t, unreliable and unable to provide nutritiona­l food”.

Poverty is fundamenta­lly a consequenc­e of human greed and for that, none of us are blameless. Ewan Gurr. Scotland Network Manager, The Trussell Trust, 30 Whitehall Street, Dundee.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom